Failing Street

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As printed originally in the Oregonian, November 9, 1921[1], origin of Failing Street's name.

Early banking history, education and political activities in the village of Portland have the name of Failing recurring frequently. The father, Josiah Failing, and the son, Henry Failing, coming to Portland in 1851 from New York city, have practically parallel careers in these parts of civic life.

The two established the firm of J. Failing & Co. dealing in general merchandise, the same year they arrived, and the father at once became a leader in many ways. In 1853 he was elected major and did much to give a proper start to the destiny of the town. His interest in education matters as a trustee of the public schools was largely responsible for their early growth and later excellence. As a republican Josiah Failing was a delegate to the national convention which nominated Lincoln for a second term and of the convention which first nominated General Grant.

The son, Henry Failing, took a close interest in the business he and his father established, which was later restricted to hardware and iron supplies. He became associated with Henry W. Corbett in the banking business in 1869, and two years afterwards they also joined in the hardware business, both enterprises having been rewarded with remarkable success.

Like his father, Henry Failing served as a mayor of Portland, being first elected in 1864, re-elected a second term and again elected in 1875. He served various other offices, but preferred private life and was best known as a banker.